Monday, May 24, 2010
Don't mess with me...
I can hardly believe that May is almost over. Most of April and May were taken over by everything related to refinancing. It really did take two months to complete the process. The initial contact to get the ball rolling was on March 25th, followed by the cleaning spree and then finally the fiasco of waiting on the bank to fix a 20 year-old error. Phew. Done. Over. Let's move on.
So now I'm back to reading a lot about hormones and menopause and about stress and how it affects aging and hormones. I think I may have said several times how confusing the whole menopausal phase is when no one talks about it. One author notes that it wasn't so very long ago that women were sent to sanatoriums because of the symptoms of nervousness, sleeplessness, irritability, and "a tendency to cause trouble"!! (Yeah, I would definitely be in a sanatorium.) To even speak of it was to risk being placed in a institution because if a woman knew about then it she must be experiencing it, and it was considered a dangerous time of life. (Dangerous to anyone around a menopausal woman, that is.) Thus, very little information was handed down. Hysteria was once considered a medical disorder diagnosed only in women. The word uterus derived from the Greek work for hysteria. Go figure. Plato discussed the problem of the "wandering uterus" creating havoc as it moved through the body. (I might buy that since I experience quite a bit of havoc inside.) However, by the mid-19th century, it was generally thought that hysteria "stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction," and several methods of treatment would result in "hysterical paroxysm," now better known as an orgasm. Huh. (Strangely, my doctor, a woman, has never mentioned this as a possible treatment for me.) Now get this. Treatment was tedious to physicians (who were always male) who tired of manual vaginal massage. Awww. (I think tedium must be the male equivalent of hysteria. Tedious males should have been put in institutions. Makes me wonder why their hands got so tired anyway.) It wasn't too long before massage devices were invented so those poor old doctors wouldn't get tedium. In the mid-19th century, a "hydrotherapy" device was available at bathing resorts. People used to go to these resorts to bathe in the waters, usually considered to having healing properties. Hugely popular. Now we know why. "By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians." (I wonder how long they set it for. Ten minutes? Two minutes?) "In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria." Catch that? Used at an "asylum"? Well, that is where we all were sent when we got hysterical. Thank goodness I didn't live back then. I probably would have been sent to the asylum when I was 12 and would have been placed in the hands of a doctor who treated his patients with vibrating electrodes attached at the temples. No paroxysms for me.
Seriously, all of this is just interesting to me when I think about how people view symptoms of stress and menopause now. I don't think much has changed except that we no longer are thrown into those sanatoriums. No, we are expected just to keep pushing ourselves harder and keep working a job while also doing all the work at home. We aren't supposed to think of ourselves, we should say yes to anything asked of us and feel deeply guilty should we ever consider saying no. If we are moody or irritable, just stuff it. And never, ever say that we're too tired. (The sanatorium is sounding better all the time.)
I'm also beginning to think there might have been something to Plato's ideas because something has definitely moved in to increase the size of my upper abdomen. It makes me feel like I am full all the time. Sitting makes me much more aware of it. I've always had a bit of a lower belly, but now the upper as well?
Makes me want to get into a hysterical fight with a tedious man.
(Image used is a pastel and pencil drawing entitled "Mood Swing" and is by orbisdeo at Etsy. The information on the histroy of hysteria was found at Wikipedia.)